Weekend ante-post tips – Best bets for York, Newbury and the Curragh on Saturday and Sunday

More classy horse racing action goes to post over the course of the coming weekend and we pick out the best of the action to give our weekend ante-post tips on Saturday and Sunday.

There’s plenty of high-class horse racing action taking place over the course of the upcoming weekend where it is John Smiths’ Cup day at York; while the Group Three Hackwood Stakes is the feature of Newbury’s Saturday card.

Meanwhile in Ireland it is Irish Oaks weekend; while the Wetherby’s Super Sprint is the feature of the Sunday racecard back at Newbury. We’ve picked out the best of the horse racing action on Saturday and Sunday and give our weekend ante-post tips on both days.


2:30 York – John Smith’s Cup Handicap (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 (3yo+) 1m2½f

Progressive DESERT ICON could prove the answer to this valuable handicap contest and William Haggas’ charge could go well on the back of an impressive last-time success at Newmarket where the Sea The Stars gelding ran out an easy eight lengths’ victor.

A dual-winner last term he only once finished out of the frame in seven starts; but he had an excuse for that run and he bounced back with successive runner-up efforts at Newmarket on the July Course and Beverley behind Good Birthday.

He possibly just needed his return at Newmarket in June when finishing fourth to West End Charmer; but he stepped up considerably with that run under his belt to readily brush aside Wait Forever where the first-time cheekpieces helped deliver a jolt of improvement although the handicapper certainly hasn’t missed him with a subsequent 11lbs hike up the weights.

However the manner of that success suggests he’s not done improving and another big run wouldn’t come as a surprise. With only nine career starts there could still be more to come from him and while he carries a fair chunk of weight he can continue to improve and ought to make his presence felt.

Desert Icon can run a big race for our weekend ante-post tips on Saturday in the John Smiths Cup.

Desert Icon can run a big race for our weekend ante-post tips on Saturday in the John Smiths Cup.

4:00 Newbury – bet365 Hackwood Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f

Things haven’t gone to plan for MUMS TIPPLE since his demolition job of a strong field in last season’s Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes; but Richard Hannon’s charge will be taking a drop in grade if turning out in Saturday’s Group Three and might be worth chancing to get his career back on track.

The Footstepsinthesand colt looked something special when scorching to an eleven lengths’ victory over Rayong on the Knavesmire last August; but he’s failed to cut any ice in a trio of Group One starts since where he’s collectively beaten only two rivals.

The latest of his runs saw him finish ahead of only one rival in the Commonwealth Cup, fading quickly having set the early pace although he was racing on the unfavoured side of the track. Nevertheless it was disappointing how he weakened quickly out of contention in that contest.

However, he could be worth giving another chance now his sights are eased out of the top grade and into a Group Three with his yard in decent form. It’s still too early to write him off given the performance he posted at York and while his limitations at the top level have been exposed he can do better easing back in class and he’s perhaps not for giving up on just yet.

7:15 Curragh – Juddmonte Irish Oaks (Group 1) (3yo) 1m4f

With Fancy Blue likely to head to the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, the way could be clear for PEACEFUL to cause a stir and land this Group One prize.

Aidan O’Brien’s Galileo filly showed marked improvement from her juvenile campaign where she won at Thurles to make a winning reappearance in the the Irish 1000 Guineas where she saw off Fancy Blue by two lengths although she wasn’t able to uphold that form on their next meeting in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly earlier in the month.

She was only beaten a neck however, not helped by being hampered which might have cost her any chance although she finished off well to land the bronze medal. It is debatable whether she would have won with a clear run, but the interference certainly wouldn’t have helped and she looks worth another chance stepping up in trip which could elicit another jolt of improvement.

Still progressing she could step up again and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her heavily involved here where she can make a return to winning ways.

Peaceful can land the Irish Oaks for our weekend ante-post tips column.

Peaceful can land the Irish Oaks for our weekend ante-post tips column.


2:50 Newbury – Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 5f

This is always a fiercely competitive big-field contest and one which could run well is John Quinn’s DISCO BEATS who has looked a progressive sort in his three runs to date.

The Pearl Secret colt posted a useful debut effort when finishing a close third at Pontefract but was possibly just unsuited by the softer ground next time at Ripon over an extra furlong. However he bounced back with a good performance at Musselburgh back at the beginning of July with a defeat of Shawshank and there could be more in the locker given he appeared to win a shade cosily.

That bare form is only ordinary and perhaps isn’t as good as others have to offer; but he could continue to improve for racing and he showed he wasn’t short of speed when posting that success. His yard has been in decent form of late and with the potential for further improvement to come from the youngster he could take another step up the ladder and make his presence felt in this well-contested valuable sprint race.

3:05 York – William Hill Summer Fillies’ Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f

JOVIAL made it a hat-trick of wins when making a successful reappearance at Lingfield last month on the poly-track, adding to earlier wins at Yarmouth and Newcastle; Sir Michael Stoute’s charge subsequently lost no caste in defeat back on turf at Haydock last month when narrowly denied by Under The Stars in the Listed Eternal Fillies’ Stakes.

The Dubawi filly was just run down late by the winner, but she appeared to hang left and possibly was just stretched by the extra furlong of that contest having travelled well into the race.

She’s quickly dropped back to six furlongs for this latest contest and while this is a slightly stronger heat she takes in now stepping into a Group Three contest she might still have more to offer returning to sprinting and every chance she can bounce back to form.

Our weekend ante-post tips features a Sir Michael Stoute-trained runner in Jovial.

Our weekend ante-post tips features a Sir Michael Stoute-trained runner in Jovial.

3:45 Curragh – Holden Plant Rentals Sapphire Stakes (Group 2) (3yo+) 5f

A’ALI had looked all at sea on the all-weather on his return in the Pavilion Stakes last month, but Simon Crisford’s showed the benefit of the run back on turf to run out a ready winner of the Coral Charge and the Society Rock gelding can quickly strike again.

Progressive as a juvenile winning three times which included the Norfolk Stakes and the Flying Childers, he subsequently wasn’t disgraced despite beating only two rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and his run at Newcastle on his reappearance very much suggested the run was needed.

However he stepped up markedly for the outing at Sandown when last seen, winning readily back over the minimum trip and there’s likely more to come from him still. He can continue to make his presence felt and it is interesting connections send the son of Society Rock to Ireland to contest this prize which has been won in recent years by a host of UK-based trainers.

He could very well be another to add to the list and no surprise to see him going well if taking his chance with connections set to supplement him for the race.